Falling Out of Love

blog fall colorsFall is my FAVORITE season. Love the cooler weather, the better sleep, the winter coats on my cats, the absence of house flies and ‘skeetos… Oh, I LOVE FALL!!!

BUT part of the challenge of being a writer is to wrap my imagination around perspectives foreign to my own. Not everyone loves fall. Some people just about go into hibernation at the end of summer, if not outright mourning. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a thing, the lock-step schedule imposed by having school age children is another thing. In some parts of the country, hurricane season is a very big thing and on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, people woke up to more than dusting of snow this weekend. 

blog pansies in snowIf I must write a character who doesn’t like to see summer end, I’ll do that more convincingly if I can rummage around inside my own experience, and find places where–to be honest–I don’t love EVERYTHING about fall. I haven’t always hated EVERYTHING about exercise. Good dark chocolate is NOT the answer to world peace. 

So here are a few things about fall that I’m not so keen on: 

The yard flowers mostly die, dead. Yes, the pansies can last a little longer, but other than that… buh-bye happy yard until spring. 

The bugs go away, but when the cornfields come down, the mice start looking for winter quarters. I’m OK with house guests I can neither see nor hear, but the cats and the mice… there’s evidence of an inter-species conflict occasionally, you know? 

Chapped lips. blog marquette

On the truly cold days, those first five miles of the drive into town.

The potty seat in an old farmhouse, which I’m telling you friends and neighbors, has an ability to conserve COLD, contrary to the dictates of all known physics. 

The impact of colder weather on the homeless. Like a lot of small communities, where I live has a “cold weather” shelter that has limited capacity and is only opeblog furry kittyn from November to March. Lower temperatures mean caloric needs go up, which means more money spent on food, and yet, we’re weeks away from a safe place for these people to sleep. When I climb into bed each night, I’m well aware that one out of eight of our homeless are veterans, and many of them do not want to be on the street.

So yes, I love fall! But. For a writer, in that space between “I love” and “but” a lot of character credibility, plot depth, and reader resonance can germinate. The other direction works just as well. I do NOT like summer’s heat and bugs, but oh, I love the flowers! Love hearing the birds caroling at 5 a.m. through my open windows and doors.

CIDS coverWhat about you? Where are your buts? Love the pumpkin spice, but not so much the dark nights? Can’t stand the cold but really do enjoy a baking day? Never thought you’d have anything good to say about winter, but….?

To one commenter, I’ll send a copy of Christmas In Duke Street, in which my character Gervaise Stoneleigh, is no fan of the holidays AT ALL, but he loves a woman who celebrates Yuletide with a passion–for him!



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21 comments on “Falling Out of Love

  1. Not a fan of the chilly mornings, love walking the corgis when it’s not humid.
    Love the fall decorations; scarecrows, pumpkins and gourds, dislike walking to my car in the dark after work.
    Enjoy the smell of my pumpkin spice and autumn leaves candles knowing they will be replaced next month with cinnamon and mistletoe scents.
    Dislike looking for my mittens , wool socks and Bean boots because fall brings winter and winter brings s-n-o-w.
    Wish the Indian Summer would last longer. It’s nice to enjoy the fall wearing jeans and sweatshirt and not thinking about coats, hats, and shoveling.

  2. I love fall, but I hate having to wear warmer footwear. In my opinion, sandals are perfect footwear. Just seeing everyone out and about in their big, bulky fall boots makes my toes sweat.

    I hate hot summers, but I LOVE how happy my kids are when they have summertime’s freedom and longer days.

    I don’t like winter cold, but I love cuddly, warm sweaters. I also have a soft spot for romances that take place in winter. Warms my heart!

    I LOVE spring sunshine and the new blossoms, but I despise the horrible allergies that inevitably accompany them.

  3. Most things in life have their up and down side. I live in the Midwest so I get to enjoy all four seasons – and I like that.

    Love summer but the bugs (especially mosquitoes) are hard to take. And the oppressive heat and humidity tend to drive me indoors more and drive my cooling bills up. I also don’t sleep as well in the summer as I do in cooler months.

    I love fall for all of the obvious reasons but we had our first bad cold snap last night and I’m sure all of my plants except my hardy rose bush and the mums are but a memory now.

    Winter is my least favorite. I do have to fight winter depression – especially in January and February. I love the holidays so much that they see me through November and December but come January I’ll be re-reading a lot of my favorite books (hello again St. Just and Darius).

    It’s hard to think of anything I don’t like about spring. Everything is new again!

  4. I LOVE fall but detest the earlier and earlier sunset. It doesn’t seem right to have it so dark when I am making dinner. It doesn’t seem right when I am trying to get home to MAKE the dinner. And when we go back to Standard time….yuck!

    I want to go to bed earlier because the dark makes me tired but I get my best stuff done after dinner….so I start getting behind with all the details I need to take care of for teaching and concerts. And Monday and Wednesday nights I like to update my Christmas card labels during October and I just don’t feel like it!

    • As a Pennsylvanian transplanted to Florida, I look forward to a few things. The humidity of FL summer is going away, which makes it possible to sit outside in comfort in the warm days. Stone crab season starts Oct. 15. I haven’t had any yet because the restaurants sell out before dinnertime. And my “snowbird” friends are coming back to town.

      Dislikes are few. I am mourning the long light evenings of summer, which will get even shorter soon. The snowbirds are starting to arrive in huge flocks and traffic quadruples on most routes, making it take much longer to get anywhere, and almost impossible to get into a restaurant without a reservation.

      What I really miss about PA are the colors of fall, buying cuddly sweaters and new jackets, and the crisp fall mornings.

      But, as always, that which is highly anticipated, soon begins to pall and we wait for the next season.

      • Pat, that’s funny that you mentioned longer commutes in Florida. If my post hadn’t gotten too long already I was going to mention the extra travel time caused by slick roads and winter sports tourists.

  5. Every season has something to love and something that’s not so lovable. In my part of Texas, Fall can be a mini-Spring: temps come down to the 80s and lower and many of the plants that withered in the summer heat rejuvenate with a little rain. However with the blooms, comes more pollen and allergies. I am not a fan of it getting dark earlier either – especially after we ‘fall back’ time. But the cooler weather and pollen are all worth it since I can wear my boots and not melt from the heat. 🙂

  6. I love the color between the trees – the play of light and shade… the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. But I don’t look foward of blowing the tons of leaves that are already falling…
    This year will be the first that I will not eat pumpkin pie and all the other pies so typical of Thanksgiving and so… I do not look foward to this. But I must take care of the diabetes so its life !
    I love that things slow down (in a way) and the plants will rest (specially my roses) but I will miss then. Today I watered the ones that are still blooming – absolutely gorgeous colors because of the cold. Makes me stop and talk with them and appreciate it for a little longer. I told them today they can sleep now. 🙂 I don’t really like Christmas so I will have something in common with your new character!

  7. Hmm… I do love Fall, it is my favorite time of year. I like good apples, the leaves changing, the weather getting cooler, Halloween. I don’t like it getting darker sooner. I don’t like having to wear a coat and then to remember to take my coat home.

  8. Hello Grace.

    Another great topic: I LOVE fall, but I can understand people who don’t because of the cold and lack of light. To accept the things I don’t like so much in fall, like said cold-and-lack-of-light, I focus on the good side like the glorious colours and general sense of ‘winding-down’ after the summer’s frantic activities.

    To practice finding good things about a season I like less, I’ll say I don’t like spring because when snow melts, everything is grey (I live just outside Quebec city) and a lot of it smells bad (cold freezes bad odours!). But on the plus side, you start seeing a lot of green again and there’s a general sense of ‘coming-out-of-hibernation’.

    Annie (aka Kelly Ann Scott)

  9. I love the colourful leaves, but I hate seeing the daylight diminish. I love the cool, crisp air, but I fear the onset of freezing temperatures. I love pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving, but I miss the fresh summer fruit and vegetables. I love huddling under a blanket on the couch, but dragging myself out into the cold is another thing altogether!

  10. There’s the inevitable round of colds to kick off this season, which can dampen plans or spirits. I look forward to the annual delivery of firewood and my family rallying around the very physical task of splitting and stacking it (almost done, Grace). Apple cider doughnuts from the local orchard! Grrr, chapped hands. Why can my youngest not comprehend that 13 degrees below freezing requires appropriate outerwear?! Love the annual thrill to see the first flakes. Thank you, Grace…am currently reading Matthew!

  11. Autumn is my favorite season, too. I love the cool mornings, the warm afternoons and the downright chilly nights. I enjoy the daily temperature fluctuations the way most people appreciate the changes of the four seasons. Spring has that too but in the Rockies spring is mostly wind, spring blizzards that kill flowers and young livestock and MUD! I don’t have much of a violent streak – until it comes to bugs, but I have to admit to malicious glee when the killer frosts free us from their reign of terror.

    I love the “look” of autumn, the rich warm colors and the angle of the sun is different making pictures look crisp and deep. I dreaded sending my kids off to school the years we didn’t home school, but loved starting the school year when we did. The new beginning just when most things are winding down was always something to look forward to.

    Growing up in a ranching family I always dreaded “shipping season” so that always limited my enjoyment of fall. Sorting out markey livestock to sell before having to feed hay all winter always made me feel like an executioner. Hobby ranching is easier for an animal lover.

    Winter is definitely my second favorite season. I love all winter sports, and the stillness and beauty of the snow. Reading a good book in front of a fire under a quilt or a wool throw is one of my top five favorite things in life. A blanket AND a fire, can you tell I live in a drafty house, too? Unfortunately those things go along with having to fight to keep livestock water unthawed and feeling sorry for the outside animals no matter how hard you try to keep them comfortable, 30 or 40 degrees below zero has to be horrible for them. And while minor in the overall scheme of things, having your socks slide down inside your snowboots is almost as annoying as mosquitoes!

    This year is definitely going to be a trial. We will be spending a Montana winter in a R.V. due to my husband’s job. And even though it is supposedly a ‘four season RV’ we’ve done this before and it’s not that comfortable. I will have trouble trusting that my 20 year old daughter is managing to keep everything unthawed and running smoothly at home in Wyoming. But we’re only 15 minutes from a nice ski area.

    Summer is usually too hot and insect infested for most of my life’s best moments but it’s definitely the season for enjoying lakes and rivers, and anxiously awaiting fall.

    • I apologize for the typos. I thought I would keep it short if I used my phone but instead I just made it difficult to read and fell victim to auto correct. Market not *markey”!

  12. Love Autumn, almost everything about it…but I could live without the stink bugs.

    And I miss being able to visit the pool. 🙂

  13. I love Fall because of the smells-the baking of apple pies, the cinnamon candles burning, the carved pumpkins, the cooking of soups and the burning of fall leaves, HOWEVER, I do not like to rake the leaves; I don’t need to eat the delicious desserts, and I don’t like the wearing of heavy clothes to keep warm.

  14. I am in north Georgia so I do have 4 seasons. Love the intensity of the blue fall sky. Love crunching crispy leaves while walking to get the mail.. Fall also brings sandhill cranes moving south. LOVE to hear them.

    Winter….don’t like the cold but do love the cold as it tends to kill off bugs that are overwintering. Definitely don’t like the many days of dreary weather that weighs one down.

    Spring…in spite of the pollen LOVE watching leaves pop out, flowers bursting out of the ground and in the trees.

    Summer…..long daylight hours….tomatoes, cucumbers, and other garden fresh veggies. Hate mosquitoes, heat and humidity.

  15. I like fall and spring. Colorful or about to be alive, Still longer days than nights, can wear tees and shorts during the day. Spring comes with the promise of summer, fall with the promise of winter. At school we teach why we have the seasons but not why we should enjoy them. We like to think that we can let the students make up their minds about which season to like. Up north in the U.P. most of my students loved fall and winter because…duh! snow days with lots of snowmobile rides and going hunting, even out of season. Fall sees a lot of tourists that my students deal with in town, or not, if they live in the woods. Friends in Marquette was whining about how cold it already is and I was doing a happy dance because I’m living downstate. The point about the homeless and veterans is well spoken. As a disabled veteran I have had a lot of friends come and go who were just traveling through because they had no place to call their own. Terribly difficult to go back to “real” life after being in the military. In our society we understand the difficulties for visible wounds, but if the damage is not visible even family members have questions. Some veterans have been harmed so much that they have issues even being among friends, let alone a whole room of strangers or a crowded cafe. Homelessness happens so quickly, too. Your husband and you may be working one day, you have money in the bank and then there’s a heart attack. He can’t work anymore, you can barely function because of all the upheaval. Your kids go on with their lives, your husband dies without any insurance and suddenly your house belongs to the bank. In one year everything comes bewildering and alien. A warm bed and hot breakfast are almost the least of your problems, but could help. In the U.P. there is a group called Hope at the Inn which helps homeless people from October until April. Fall and spring, both promising the new and both bringing change.